The Electronic Journal of e-Learning provides perspectives on topics relevant to the study, implementation and management of e-Learning initiatives
For general enquiries email administrator@ejel.org
Click here to see other Scholarly Electronic Journals published by API
For a range of research text books on this and complimentary topics visit the Academic Bookshop

Information about the current European Conference on e-Learning is available here

For infomation on the International Conference on eLearning, click here

For infomation on the European Conference on Games Based Learning clickhere

 

Journal Article

When Knowing More Means Knowing Less: Understanding the Impact of Computer Experience on e‑Learning and e‑Learning Outcomes  pp289-300

Lena Paulo Kushnir

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 3, Special ICEL 2009 Issue, Editor: Florin Salajan and Avi Hyman, pp191 - 316

Look inside Download PDF (free)

Abstract

Students often report feeling more overloaded in courses that use e‑learning environments compared to traditional face‑to‑face courses that do not use such environments. Discussions here consider online design and organizational factors that might contribute to students' reports of information overload. It was predicted that certain online factors might contribute to stimulus overload and possibly students' perceived overload, rather than information overload per se. User characteristics and a range of design and organizational factors that might contribute to perceived overload are discussed and hypotheses of how such factors might affect learning outcomes are also discussed. An experiment was conducted to test predictions that (i) students' past online experience, (ii) the organization and relevance of online information, and (iii) the level of task difficulty affect (i) learning outcomes, (ii) students' perceptions of information overload, and (iii) students' perceptions of having enough time to complete experimental tasks. A total of 187 participants were tested in four experimental conditions that manipulated the organization and relevance of online material that students had to learn (ie, (i) a stimulus‑low environment, where the material to be learned was presented as scrolling text, with no other stimuli present; (ii) a familiar environment, where the material to be learned was set within the borders of a familiar course Web site; (iii) a stimulus‑rich or stimulus‑ noisy environment, where the material to be learned was set within the borders of an Amazon.com Web page (a Web site where you can search for, and buy books, videos and other products online); (iv) a PDF file environment, where the material to be learned was presented as a PDF file that resembled an online duplicate of the same material in the course textbook). Findings suggested that overly busy online environments that contain irrelevant information (ie, stimulus‑rich or stimulus‑noisy online environment) had a negative impact on learning for students ranked "high" on experience with e‑learning technologies, but no impact on learning for other students (as measured by a knowledge test of material studied during experimental sessions). There is no doubt that online environments contain vast amounts of information and stimuli; often some of which are irrelevant and distracting. How one handles irrelevant or distracting information and stimuli can have a significant impact on learning. Surprisingly, results here suggest that overload affected only experienced students. Perceptual load hypotheses are discussed to explain what initially seemed to be counterintuitive results. This paper examines literature that considers factors that can affect learning online, strategies for how teachers can ensure positive outcomes for the technology‑based classroom, and strategies for avoiding online pitfalls that might leave students frustrated or burdened with feelings of overload.

 

Keywords: learning outcomes overload perceptual load design and organizational factors of e-learning interface design instructional design user experience task difficulty

 

Share |

Journal Article

Exploring the Current Theoretical Background About Adoption Until Institutionalization of Online Education in Universities: Needs for Further Research  pp73-84

Ines Casanovas

© Mar 2010 Volume 8 Issue 2, ECEL 2009, Editor: Shirley Williams, Florin Salajan, pp51 - 208

Look inside Download PDF (free)

Abstract

Online education in institutional contexts means new organizational problems. The fact that universities need to change to accommodate the impact of technology on learning is already known and accepted. Coping with changes from adoption until institutionalization of online education represents a formidable management challenge for universities. Online education, under the umbrella of e‑learning was perceived by several early researchers as an innovation per‑se, "established and embedded" in educational institutions. Nevertheless, the Department for Education and Skills of UK insists that e‑learning is not embedded at any stage of education. The focus was strongly set on technological, practical and pedagogical aspects but there are relevant reports about failures in embedding innovations in educational institutions. The institutional lack of strategies to cope with international students and new technologies as well as supporting for future online developments clearly appeared in recent studies. Competition in the market of Higher Education has pushed universities towards the adoption of sophisticated organizational practices to ensure effectiveness. These new institutional models require changing traditional functions and roles, as online education does not usually fit into the existing university structure. The transition from on‑campus to online education evolves in new roles, either in the pedagogical or in the administration domains. Organizational factors, more than teachers and students attitudes or technological features seem to mark the differences in the general perception about technology‑mediated education getting successfully embedded in institutional new programs, roles, procedures, culture and structures. The aim of this paper is to revisit the existing theoretical background about the process from adoption until institutionalization of online education and explore the needs for further research. The overall purpose is to encourage researchers to fill the gaps of knowledge helping university managers to address a more clear understanding of the individual and organizational interactions that influence the development of strategies and institutionalization of emergent online educational initiatives. Exploring the current theoretical background it could be found that IT‑innovation adoption models describe very extensively organizational issues, but they mainly take into account educational innovation take‑up, adoption and implementation as isolated stages. They focus on factors and prescribed practices, but not on the human interactions during the transition from individual adoption until institutionalization. The disconnection between individual and organizational IT adoption research was remarked by the Diffusion Interest Group in Information Technology (DIGIT) in their 2004 conference. Since then, several authors have claimed for a better understanding of this linkage. The lack of clearness about the phenomena and a description of how individual and group‑level processes enable andor hinder the development of organizational routines, were reported as a still under‑developed topic and according to the findings of this review it seems to be still an ongoing theme. Consequently, under the circumstance of the transformation that universities are undergoing, the need for a systematic study analyzing the implementation of emergent IT innovations in education appears as significant. Particularly, the process from its adoption at individual level until its institutionalization and the linkage between individual and organizational purposes need to be addressed.

 

Keywords: online education, adoption, organizational factors, institutionalization, universities

 

Share |